Celebrating fundraising achievements

the emcees | Arts & Culture | Awards for Excellence in Fundraising 2020

The Emcees 2020 is the UK arts, culture and heritage sector’s chance to celebrate fundraising success. This year the event is moving online but it will still be glamorous, fun and exciting.

The awards were set up in 2016 by =mc consulting (the team behind the National Arts Fundraising School) to recognise and celebrate excellence in arts, heritage and culture fundraising. Every year we help to identify and publicise the extraordinary job many fundraisers do — from development directors to volunteer board members. High achieving projects and individuals receive an award and often valuable support in kind from one of our sponsors. Winners receive a beautiful award to display and a special ‘winner’ logo to display on their website.

This year we’re delighted to announce the awards will take place online as part of the Defining the New Normal, a NAFS curated global event on a post-Covid cultural future set for 18th August 2020.

The Awards

There are eight awards and the shortlisted organisations are listed below:

Best Individual Giving / Membership Scheme

Sponsored by Bruce Tait Associates.

NAFS Best Alumni Fundraiser

  • Lucy Blythe
  • Ana Pinto Goncalves
  • Deborah Parker

Nomination process

Nominations are now closed. Winners will be announced on 18th August 2020 as part of the Defining the New Normal, a NAFS curated global event on a post-Covid cultural future.

Overall criteria

The Emcees have been created to recognise excellence in arts and culture fundraising. All winning awards will show strong evidence of having:

  • a supporter-centred approach
  • a strong underlying strategy
  • an innovative or creative approach


To be eligible, the activity must have taken place at any time between 31st June 2019 and 31st June 2020.


The deadline for nominations is 5pm on 24th July 2020.

The Judges

We have stellar team of judges. They include:

Helen Cooper

Helen Cooper

Arts Council England
Senior Manager, Philanthropy / Visual Arts

Helen works across policy and programmes which support the arts and cultural sector in England to develop more income through philanthropy. Her role also encompasses national visual arts initiatives such as the Arts Council Collection National Partners Programme. She is interested in how people’s generosity supports artistic talent and how to enable everyone to have the opportunity to be inspired by art. Previously at Tate, as UK Partnerships Manager Helen had oversight of Tate’s national networks Plus Tate and British Art network and their activities alongside touring two significant works of art in the collection with UK partners. Helen is a New Zealander with a background in English Literature and Japanese studies. She has two young boys and a slight coffee dependency as a result.
Husne Begum

Husne Begum

Birmingham Museums
Development Manager

Husne Begum has been at Birmingham Museums since 2018 as their Development Manager leading the museums fundraising team. Husne’s career began working for charities in 2002 and in the last 6 years has focused on the arts sector; she loves the creativity of fundraising for the arts. Husne is also on the board for the Institute of Fundraising Fundraising Convention, representing the midlands and arts sector. Husne has a variety of experience behind her, from raising money for festivals, lottery and other funding for grassroots community projects, to fundraising for headline exhibitions at Birmingham Museums such as Leonardo Da Vinci: A Life in Drawing.
Dan Headshot

Dan Fletcher

Moore Kingston Smith
Director (Fundraising)

Dan has been with MKS since 2014 building up a broad portfolio of diverse clients in culture, health, education, and international development sectors. Prior to that he ran his own fundraising and management consultancy, after having led the fundraising departments in health and social care charities since 2000.

He has held voluntary roles within the Chartered Institute of Fundraising and is currently Cultural Sector Network treasurer and on its Learning and Development board sub-committee. He is also Treasurer of Hertfordshire Natural History Society, and a trustee of Rethink Mental Illness and of an environmental charity, Sustainable St Albans.

Mahmoud Reza

Mahmood Reza

Pro-Active Resolutions

Mahmood’s career of over 25 years has been about supporting business and entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow, as well as social enterprises and charities, as “Not your normal boring Accountant!”

He started his career in teaching, and since then has worked in Finance, Business and as a Management Professional working within the Private Sectors, Cultural, Education and Not for profit. This has given him over 30 years’ experience of board level partnerships and negotiations.

Mahmood is actively involved in the governance of charity, arts, and educational establishments across the East Midlands and beyond and is committed to playing a role in preserving UK’s arts and heritage as a Trustee and volunteer for a number of charities, arts, and educational establishments across the East Midlands and beyond.

Marina Jones, Royal Opera House

Marina Jones

Royal Opera House
Interim head of Membership and Fundraising Appeals

Marina Jones is Head of Membership and Fundraising Appeals at the Royal Opera House and has 18 years’ experience raising funds for arts and cultural charities including at the Lyric Hammersmith, Polka Theatre and the Orange Tree Theatre. She is a member of the Institute of Fundraising Convention and Governor for Dr Pusey’s Memorial Fund. She has recently completed an MA with distinction in Philanthropic Studies with a dissertation on legacy giving. She is alumna of the National Arts Fundraising School (2002).
Bernard Ross (Headshot)

Bernard Ross

National Arts Fundraising School

Bernard Ross is a director of =mc consulting and the National Arts Fundraising School. For over 20 years, he has acted as a fundraising consultant to a wide range of bodies in the arts and cultural world, including Scottish Opera, BFI and Southbank Centre. He regularly consults on major fundraising projects for leading organisations such as UNICEF, NSPCC and Cancer Research UK. He has also worked with many INGOs on decision science projects including IFRC, UNHCR, UNICEF and MSF as well as national bodies like Bristol Museums and Edinburgh Zoo. His bestselling book Change for Good is the first to explore the impact of decision science on the pro-social sector.
Emma Goad

Emma Goad

Blue Canary Fundraising

Emma is Senior Consultant at =mc consulting, and a Programme Leader at the National Arts Fundraising School. In 2014 Emma set up Blue Canary Fundraising to support cultural organisations across the UK with approaches to fundraising, deepening impact and developing business models. Emma has worked with a number of Wales’ national companies including National Dance Company Wales and Welsh National Opera, as well as many portfolio and project companies in Wales and across England. Working with a fundraising focus, Emma’s commitment is centred on resilience, sustainability and development of an organisation, the sector, and the place that culture and creativity has in the wider world.


We are grateful to our farsighted and generous sponsors Moore Kingston Smith (Ceremony Partner), ProActive Resolutions (Media Partner), Brown Creative, Bruce Tait Associates and =mc consulting.

Moore Kingston Smith Logo
Pro Active Resolutions Logo
Brown Creative Logo
Bruce Tait Associates Logo
=mc consulting logo

Photo gallery from previous Emcees awards

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